Friday, December 21, 2007

Follow the Star

Christmas brings children to the foreground no doubt because of the birthday of the world’s greatest Child.

That ordinary children can be saints, even canonized, we learned from St. Dominic Savio, the youngest non-martyr ever canonized. He was fourteen when he died. Sanctity, even heroic sanctity is possible in the very young.

A new example has been presented to the world in the person of Antonietta Meo. She was five months shy of seven, when she died of bone cancer in 1937.

Just this month documentation of her heroic virtues was promulgated by the Congregation for Saints' Causes. (

The Holy Father recalled how during her brief life she "showed special faith, hope and charity" and he presented her as a model for young people. He affirmed that "her existence, so simple and yet so important, shows that sanctity is for all ages: for little children and for young people, for adults and the elderly."

The Pontiff continued: "She traveled quickly down the 'highway' that leads to Jesus [...] who is, in fact, the true 'path' that leads to the Father, and to his and our definitive home that is heaven.
"Jesus is the way that leads to true life, the life that never ends. It is often a steep and narrow way but, if one allows oneself to be attracted by him, it is always stupendous, like a mountain path: The higher one climbs, the easier it becomes to gaze down upon new panoramas, ever more beautiful and vast. The journey is tiring but we are not alone. [...] What is important is not to lose our way, not to miss the path, otherwise we risk falling into an abyss or getting lost in the woods."

"Dear friends," Benedict XVI added, "God made himself man to show us the way. Indeed, by becoming a child he made himself the 'way,' also for young people like you: He was like you; he was your age."

The Pope concluded, expressing his hope that Catholic Action might "walk jointly and briskly along the path of Christ, bearing witness, in the Church and in society, to the fact that this is a beautiful path. It is true that it requires commitment, but it leads to true joy."

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